So I read a post the other day about how dramas are practically designed to hurt you, the viewer. Its why great dramas are perceived to put their viewers and their characters through a gauntlet of pain until there’s barely any fun in watching the show. That’s why I love Arrow so much. It’s a show with stakes that doesn’t punish it’s characters for being happy. This comes with a downside, especially this deep into season four, where I fear the idea of death has no meaning anymore, and that’s not a good thing. Heavy spoilers from the midseason finale follow.
The Felicity Problem
So, just like every other show I’ve seemed to watch this week, the midseason finale was largely mediocre that pulled all of its punches right up to the last fifteen minutes. The pacing was languid, and the action dull right up until that moment when Damien Darhk put Team Arrow into the gas chamber. There was a whole minute where I felt like they might kill them all, but then pulled away, almost like the writers realized that it was too dark for even Arrow. They saved the final punch for the last sequence, where Darhk shoots up Oliver’s limo, and Felicity is seemingly killed in the crossfire. Now, we know from the sneak peek at the return that Felicity will at least linger on death’s threshold for a few more moments, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter. I can’t, and won’t, believe that she will die (or at least stay dead). Lets look at the Arrowverse track record.
Mirakuru and Lazarus
In Arrow we’ve seen Slade Wilson, Thea, Roy, Sara Lance, Quentin Lance, Ray Palmer, and now Andy come back from the grave. All of which either were literally resurrected (Thea, Sara, and Slade Wilson), or the show played with clever angles and cliffhangers to make us think people were dead when they weren’t. Because they bring people back with such frequency I can’t really believe that Felicity is going to die, even though I have foreknowledge of Ollie standing next to a fresh grave in the flash-forward of the season premiere. If I’m being honest, the show has been somewhat stale this season because I don’t really feel like Damien Darhk is a threat, no matter how much they tell me he is. I don’t know what his plan is, and frankly, I think that Team Arrow is so covered in plot armor that I don’t think the writers will actually kill any of them off, even if it’s the right call. I have enjoyed the tone of the series now, I love seeing happy Oliver (because that’s character development), but I don’t ever feel like anything is at stake anymore.
Change or Die
The last time I really was surprised by Arrow was when Slade Wilson killed Ollie’s mother. That was shocking and brutal, and the show changed after that. Ever since the introduction of the Lazarus Pit in season three I have felt the stakes lesson. The series has an in world way of bringing people back (albeit, not without a cost), and so I never feel like anything can’t be reversed, especially when they can just run to Star Labs and have Team Flash science a way out when everything else fails. Hell, they could even find another Lazarus Pit since this first one has crapped out.